India: India introduces intern, film visas

What is the change? India has introduced new visa categories for foreign nationals interning or shooting films in India.

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What does the change mean? Effective immediately, qualifying foreign nationals may apply for Intern (I) Visas and Film (F) Visas. Intern visas are available to eligible foreign nationals who have recently completed studies and plan to intern at Indian companies, nongovernmental organizations or educational institutions. Film visas are available to eligible foreign nationals shooting films or television shows in India. Both visas will be valid for no more than one year.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Intern (I) Visas and Film (F) visas.
  • Who is affected: Employers, including companies, nongovernmental organizations and educational institutions, and foreign nationals seeking to shoot films or work as interns in India.
  • Business impacts: Officials hope the changes will help promote the business community broadly and the film industry specifically.

Background: The introduction of the two new visa categories coincided with India’s move toward a more liberalized e-visa regime that is also meant to boost business opportunities and investment in India.

Intern Visas are reserved for foreign nationals who have just completed university or graduate school. Internships must be for one year or less, and interns working for companies must be paid at least 780,000 rupees (about US$11,970) per year. There are no pay requirements for interns working at NGOs or educational institutions.

Film Visas will be available to foreign nationals whose applications are approved by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Project-specific visas will be issued only after the ministry has given its approval. Additional information is available on the ministry’s website.

BAL Analysis: The new visa categories open two new routes for foreign nationals looking to work and live in India. The categories are relatively narrow, however, and those interested should contact BAL to determine whether they would be eligible and for additional details on completing an application.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in India. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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